As well as Douglas Hogg, two more Tory MP’s will be stepping down at the next general election. Anthony Steen and Sir Peter Viggers having been exposed in the Telegraph for questionable expenses have rightly decided not to seek re-election. Any attempts by MP’s to cling on to their seats who have been exposed making outrageous claims for expenses only serve to damage the Conservative Party’s attempt to gain power at the next election. All such MP’s will be vulnerable to anti sleaze campaign by their opponents and seats that the party should be holding on to would undoubtedly be at risk.
The Labour Party or its MP’s have yet to take similar action though two of its MP’s have been suspended and my local MP Shahid Malik has resigned from his post as Justice Minister pending a full investigation into his expenses claims. The public mood is one of disgust and if any party or associations drag their feet and leave in place those MP’s who to voters look to have abused the system, then they should not be surprised if ‘independent’ candidates stand on anti-sleaze tickets against them and turn the election campaign into an ‘expenses’ campaign only.
David Cameron thankfully has grasped the public mood and is one step ahead of the Prime Minister in his response. It is incredible that there are MP’s still peddling the ‘I didn’t break any law/rule’ defence instead of showing any remorse and contrition. Yesterday I met a person who said that those MP’s making outrageous claims were thieves. I wouldn’t use the same language or express the same sentiments and each case has to be looked at on its own but this does show how angry people are feeling and how badly let down they feel by their representatives.
This scandal will no doubt rumble on and there will be many more MP’s who will stand down before the next election.